Maurice Buckley, Chairman, Office of Public Works
‘Parks. Our Shared Heritage: The Phoenix Park, Dublin and The Royal Parks, London’ exhibition is a unique collaboration between the Office of Public Works and The Royal Parks, which chronicles for the first time ever, the rich artistic and social history of these magnificent Parks, for over three centuries.
The Phoenix Park was established as a Royal Deer Park in 1662 by one of Ireland’s most illustrious Viceroys, James Butler, Duke of Ormond, on behalf of King Charles II. Today this historic landscape, one of international importance, has over 10 million visitors annually. The Office of Public Works is also responsible for managing State-owned National Monuments and Historic properties, including two Unesco World Heritage sites: Bru na Boinne ( Newgrange) and Skellig Michael.
The world-renowned Royal Parks engage the public in so many ways, be it their beautiful horticultural displays in St. James’s Park or observing nature and biodiversity in Richmond Park.
The magnificent surrounds of Farmleigh Gallery provide an ideal backdrop for this exhibition in Dublin. Likewise, the Mall Galleries in the heart of London, is a pivotal venue to showcase these masterpieces that have been so carefully curated.
To everyone who inspired, encouraged and helped us to assemble this wonderful exhibition, I would like to say a huge thank you, especially to the Hearsum Collection which provided so many of the wonderful paintings, images and artefacts of the eight Royal parks and to those other institutions and individuals who contributed to the exhibition in so many ways.
Our shared heritage with the United Kingdom has many strands. Our friends and colleagues in the Royal Parks and at the Hearsum Collection have been passionate and enthusiastic from the outset. Without such input the delivery of such a dynamic cultural exhibition on both sides of the Irish Sea would simply not have been possible. We look forward to future collaborations.
This exhibition introduces the public to the magic of these memorable parks. I sincerely hope that you enjoy it and that you will be inspired to explore for yourself these wondrous historic Parks, now, and into the future.